Although he had critical acclaim, Berlioz was an admirer, he never made it to „the big league” of 19th century composers. Gouvy died in 1891.
I picked three works of Gouvy that shows his qualities as a composer; the groovy, the goofy and the pathos.
First, the early piano trio op. 18 from 1847, played by the Voces Intimae trio on authentic instruments. Gouvy must have had a marvelous cellist in mind when he wrote this, as the cello part is remarkably active in this trio…!
Then a remarkable Serenade from 1885, with music ranging from echoes of Louis Moreau Gottschalk in the Scherzo and pre-cartoon sound-effects in the first movement, sounding like a 19th century Raymond Scott!
Finally, the original French version of Gouvy's oratorio „Odipe à Colone” from 1881, of which the premiere and subsequent success became his biggest success in life. The choir in this recording is a bit „overenthousiast” in their fiery performance sometimes, but they surely render this oratorio based on a text by Soiphocles with panache and passion.
Hope you will like these discoveries as much as I did…!
Théodore Gouvy (1819-1891)
-Piano trio no 2 in a minor op. 18: Voces intimate trio (on authentic instruments)
-Serenade no 2 in F major op. 84: Markus Bronnimann, flute - Kreisler Quartet - Ilka Emmert, double-bass
-Oedipe a Colone, oratorio op 75: Christa Ratzenböck, Vinzenz Haab, Stephen Roberts, Joseph Cornwell, Kantorei Saarlouis, La Grande Societe Philharmonique, Joachim Fontaine
(Two hours twenty-one minutes French-German-French music)